Grand Final Day - Live from Leichhardt Oval
Today’s Grand Finals mark a moment in history for the Balmain Referees Association and the Balmain Junior League with the first ever “all female” Grand Final Referees Team officiating in the Under 9, Division 3 game. In a history-making Centenary season for the Balmain Referees Association, today’s achievement seems fitting for a Referees Association boasting more female members than any other Referees Association in NSW.
We asked the Balmain Referees Chairman, Scott Todd to explain the significance of today’s appointments. “Our Association has a long and proud history of female referees. Our first female referee joined our Association in 1984 and since then, female Referees have achieved every honour, award and recognition our Association can offer, including Life Membership. Some years ago, we recognised the opportunity to improve our recruitment efforts and help to retain young ladies within the game of Rugby League once they stop playing football. Our Association instigated a pilot programme with the ARLC to recruit former players at the age of 13 to referee non-competitive matches until they turned 14. This would allow young ladies to continue in the game. Such was the success of that pilot that the ARLC implemented the pilot nationally”.
As Referees Manager Phillip McMahon explains “These young ladies have all joined the Balmain Referees Association within the past 3 years and have benefitted greatly from their own personal experiences and the coaching and mentoring they have received during their membership. Today’s “Famous Five”, Elysia Higgins (Referee), Amy Hopton and Makayla White (Touch Judges) and Pauline Condon and Holly Braham (In-Goal Officials) represent not only the future of the Balmain Referees Association, but the Balmain Junior League and Rugby League Refereeing in general. All five referees have thoroughly deserved their appointments and it is recognition of their efforts throughout the season.”
On behalf of the Balmain District Junior Rugby League, we would like to congratulate these outstanding young Referees and the Balmain Referees Association on this historic achievement and we wish all our Referees the best of luck for their games today.